Advanced Math/Science Research Update
by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program
January 15, 2013
Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students. AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.
The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope. This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years. The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus.
One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14. Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.
Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!
Quiz Bowl at Yale
On Saturday, March 2nd, four members of the Berkshire School Academic Quiz Bowl team traveled to New Haven, CT to participate in the 22nd annual Bulldog High School Academic Tournament (BHSAT), hosted by Yale University. Though the final results were not among Berkshire’s best—the Bears finished in 15th place out of a field of 24 teams—the team gave it their all in one of the region’s toughest tournaments of the year, with the top five teams qualifying for the national championship in Atlanta. In fact, because participation in the BHSAT is by invitation only, based on results from earlier in the season, that the Berkshire team qualified in just its second year of existence is an accomplishment in itself.
Individually, Shuvam Chakraborty ’16 posted the best Berkshire finish, in 23rd place out of nearly 100 competitors, chalking up 340 points for the team. Merit Glover ’14 and Captain Eliza Farley ’13 ended in 47th and 48th places, respectively, each scoring 220 points; however, because Merit had fewer “neg” points (penalty points for early buzzes and incorrect answers) she just edged out Eliza in the tie-breaker. It should be noted, though, that competitors are encouraged to be tactically aggressive and buzz early, and so frequently the highest scorers also accumulate high numbers of neg points. Rounding out the Berkshire team, first-timer Dan Beyer ’16 got his feet wet, earning 30 points for the team but more importantly gaining the experience that only comes from live competition.
The Berkshire Quiz Bowl team has had a great year. The enthusiasm among the students, bolstered by the generous support of the school’s faculty, administration, and parents, augers well for this exciting and academically rigorous activity in the future. Go Bears!
-- Evan Clary, English Department Chair and faculty advisor to the Academic Quiz Bowl team